Filipino Martial Arts

I’ve recently been getting some training under my belt with the FMA systems (Filipino Martial Arts) over the last 6 mths or so. I had never really any thoughts about doing anything thing else other than a little submission wrestling to round out whatever else I’ve picked up over these past 29 years training in the martial arts.

Admittedly I also never thought training with sticks had much value, that was before but I was fortunate to meet and get a little training in catch wrestling with a top level instructor who is also ranked as an instructor under some world class teachers like Dan Inosanto as well several other top of the food chain instructors,  Bryan Broussard . At times Bryan would reference systems such as Doce Pares, Pekiti Tirsia, and Silat among other things. I had heard of those systems of course and I knew about guys like Remy Presas and the Dog Brothers , Danny Innosanto  etc… but not much else.

When Bryan got to talking about the blade fighting aspects of the systems I started to do the what if’s. What if I had to deal with a weapon. It’s been such a long time since I had trained any self defense stuff against an armed person let alone someone who actually knows what they ‘re doing.

So his talks got my attention; maybe I need to get back to some weapons training I said to myself. But unfortunately Bryan relocated to work in his other field of expertise healing work, in an acupuncture clinic half way across the country.

After a doing a little research I found John Bahr who teaches Filipino Martial Arts under Zach Whitson and his CTS Counterpoint Tactical Systems.

So what does any of this have to do with Internal Martial Arts?

The more that I train the more I see similarities and relationships between things. Many of the principles in the blade training are similar to what a good Tai Chi practitioner has to have. Having a level of fluidity and yielding capabilities is very important from what I’ve experienced so far.

I have to say I just love Panantukan aka Dirty Boxing as well, this subsystem within the F.M.A. arts has actually allowed me to come full circle in my own training.

One of the first things I ever learned in terms of defending myself was some of the prison boxing I had picked from some of the guys in the projects who picked it up either in a reform school back then or when they got older actual prisons like Rikers Island or Comstock.

What I like about the Panantukan is all of the martial arts it seems to draw from. You can see the Wing Chun aspects integrated with the boxing and dirty boxing tactics as well. The more I train the more I see these relationships.

A lot of the Silat techniques look very much like what is done in BaGua lineages.  I asked on of my co-workers who is from the Philippines about Chinese populations in the Philippines and he said there are Chinese who have been in the Philippines for centuries.

I don’t have a historical perspective on the contributions of the Chinese to this region martially speaking but the more I cross train in these different systems the more I see and appreciate the similarities.

This is what martial arts innovator and thought leader Bruce Lee meant decades ago when he talked about being bound by a system and taking what is useful.


 Master Whitson in Action

There is some serious fluidity going on here as well as some heavy left and right brain balancing which is another thing that really interests me.

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